How Should You Respond to a Data Breach?

Studies gathered by the University of North Georgia estimate over three million records are stolen every day by data breach. Capitalizing on user error and ignorance, today’s threat actors find much success in infiltrating databases. With emerging technologies like artificial intelligence and IoT rising in popularity, threat actors may have more tools and entry points to steal data. Therefore, addressing potential threats should include a responsive approach as attacks become more prevalent. A proactive approach must take into consideration what to do in the event of a successful breach.

To help maintain business continuity without compromising, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) offers a set of guidelines for potential breaches. While different businesses may require unique response plans, the following checklist can still be beneficial to establish a clear directive during stressful times:

  1. Isolate servers and systems directly connected to the breach.
  2. Back up relevant data in case any data is lost.
  3. Deploy a data forensics team to analyze the breach’s impact.
  4. Allow your forensic team to remove affected systems from your network.
  5. Note -and if possible remove-your leaked data.
  6. Work with your cybersecurity team to navigate segmented data and block access.
  7. Communicate with customers, investors, and other stakeholders who might’ve been affected.

Communicating in the Aftermath

Cyberattacks not only drain information and peace of mind from a business, but they can also devastate a brand’s reputation if handled poorly. Many businesses struggle with defining how much information should be shared during the investigation. Failure to disclose important information can result in large fines and lost relationships. However, oversharing may lead to speculation and premeditated conclusions, ultimately impacting the restorative process. The FTC recommends communicating the following answers to maintain transparency:

  • How did the breach happen?
  • What kind of data was stolen?
  • How has stolen data been used so far?
  • How are you addressing the breach?
  • Are any actions being taken to protect affected parties?

Who to Include in Your Data Forensics Response Team

An outside perspective can help identify hidden vulnerability gaps within your system. As a result, consider working with a dedicated cybersecurity team following a breach to ensure IT teams are not overwhelmed or under prepared to remediate errors. A typical response team may include some or all of the following roles:

  • Incident Response Manager to outline a step-by-step response plan based on areas affected.
  • Forensic Analyst to evaluate vulnerabilities present in collected evidence.
  • Ransomware Negotiators to help restore data without paying the full ransom price in the event a backup was not conducted.
  • Risk Manager to note industry compliance standards and guidelines affected during a breach.
  • Threat Intelligent Manager to collect and synthesize data pertaining to potential threats faced by your business.

The potential of a data breach is a certainty in today’s ever-changing cybersecurity landscape. Contact our team to learn how you can proactively protect your data.

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